How to Manage a Team Across Many Timezones

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Globalization has led to a large amount of companies with businesses established globally, and even though cross-country projects & teams or crossed business relationships are becoming the norm, it still remains an everyday challenge.

Neomobile has 13 offices worldwide and deals with partners and carriers in over 70 countries worldwide, so we can say we’ve learned some tricks over the years.

Today we are sharing our 5 ways to ease the flow and improve your cross-country managing skills!

This article is also available in Italian.

1)      Conditio sine qua non

First of all, different time zones often mean different languages so it’s important to know your company and its culture and also identify a common language. As in many companies, English is Neomobile’s corporate language. If necessary, reinforce it with language courses (e-learning ones are a great solution) in order to avoid misunderstandings and delays and improve the work flow.

2)      From AM to PM

Manage the different time zones: plan important activities or meetings in correct moments of the day (for instance, PM for Europe and AM for Americas). Remember to always indicate the  UTC time standard in meeting invitations or when creating analysis and reports.  In addition, remember that with flextime programs you could take advantage of your flexible hours for a general convenience and compensate the time gaps.

3)      Lean philosophy

Invest in good communication and project management tools: a centralized board where messages can be tracked is often more useful than a continuous interchange of emails with a never-ending CC list. Try using a free activity organizer like Trello. Consider using Skype or Google Hangout remembering that visual is always better, and it saves on costs. Always use the best tools for conference calls because there’s nothing more frustrating than group calls where you lose half of the conversation. Always make sure your offices have good Wi-Fi connection.

4)      Localize

When you’re not familiar with the people you work with, distance often creates gaps or conflicts. Since respect should drive every single action, get to know your colleagues and deepen local cultures. Maybe organize an encounter or outdoor session with as many colleagues worldwide as possible (get inspired by Neomobile’s Talents Outdoor). It might cost you some budget, but work efficiency, communication and team spirit among colleagues will improve greatly.

5)      Globetrotters

Last but not least…travel! Whenever it is possible, take the chance to do so. If you are leading a team,  don’t act like the distant boss that only comes over in times of trouble. Transparency and trust come first! Plan frequent visits with time to save on your budget. Use these business trips to reinforce the bond with your team members and seize the occasion to brainstorm business improvements together.

 

What is your experience? Don’t forget to leave your comments below!

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